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March 16, 2010
Paid Sick Leave Bill Would Help More than 30 Million Workers, Proponents Argue

Democrats on the Joint Economic Committee of Congress have released a report estimating that more than 30 million workers would gain access to paid sick leave if it were required by federal law.

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Democrats in both chambers of Congress have proposed paid sick leave requirements. The legislation (H.R.2460 in the House and S. 1152 in the Senate) would require employers to allow each employee to earn at least 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Under the legislation, employers would be allowed to cap the amount of paid sick leave an employee can accrue at 56 hours per year. Employers would also be able to have more generous sick leave policies.

Some jurisdictions already require paid sick leave, including the District of Columbia, San Francisco, and Milwaukee.

Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Joint Economic Committee report analyzed the demographics of workers who currently have access to paid sick leave and workers who would gain access to paid sick leave under the Healthy Families Act. According to the report:

  • The legislation would give at least 30.3 million additional workers access to paid sick leave.
  • Almost half of the increased access to paid sick leave (14.7 million additional workers) would accrue to workers in the bottom wage quartile.
  • Nearly half (13.3 million workers) of the increased access to paid sick leave would accrue to women workers; and
  • Almost one-third of the increased access to paid sick leave would accrue to minority workers, including 3.9 million additional African-American workers and 5.6 million additional Latino workers.
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